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#1 Timm

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 14:48

I've just finished reading this months MOTORSPORT and have realised that I don't know much about the supplier of their first victory, Jo Bonnier.

What was his background? Is he still alive,etc, etc.

Go.

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#2 David J Jones

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 15:14

No

Jo regrettably died in an accident on the Mulsanne some years ago before the bends were put into and spoiled it

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 15:23

Shall we just add in that you speak of BRM and his win at Zandvoort in 1959?

#4 jarama

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 15:52

Timm,

Bonnier's terrible crash was during the '72 LeMans 24h at the wheel of one of the works Lola Ford's. If I'm not wrong was a T280 powered by a Cosworth DFV.

#5 Kpy

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 15:58

Originally posted by David J Jones
Jo regrettably died in an accident on the Mulsanne some years ago before the bends were put into and spoiled it


Jo was a great Swedish gentleman racer.

He was killed 1n 1971, not on Mulsanne, but just coming into Indianapolis corner; His Lola 280 hit a slow privately-entered Ferrari and exploded before flying 300 feet into the trees. Another driver, I forget who, said you couldn't ignore the accidet spot, Jo's car had ripped the tops off the trees.

RIP a kind and considerate person


#6 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 18:44

Bonniers crash was 1972.

The jewish Bonnier family is one of the richest in Sweden, they own 2 of the 4 biggest newspapers in Sweden and are the biggest book publisher.

Jo was on the 'poorer' branch of the family tree, not multi- only millionaire... think his father was a famous surgeon.

Jo was never popular in the 'half-socialist' country of Sweden.
He moved to Switzerland early in his career, probably for tax reasons. He was not properly insured when he died and his wife, Marianne, had to move back to Sweden with the kids. His son, Patrick, had a diving accident a couple years ago and was paralysed. He has since competed in the Olympics for disabled. I dont remember in which sport.

Jo spoke several languages fluently and was highly rated as the president of the Grand Prix Drivers Association.

His best results must be winning Targa Florio twice and victory in some sportscar-races together with Graham Hill.

Stefan

#7 Barry Boor

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 20:24

On our way back from a restaurant down at Mulsanne in July 1972, Francois Migault stopped his car and we all got out at a point just on the little right-hand curve a few yards before the tight left-hander at Indianapolis.

We climbed over the armco and walked through the trees into a rough clearing, that I would estimate was about 30 yards from the road. Francois told us that this was where Jo's Lola had finished up. Indeed, there were some small posies of flowers fixed to the trees. I could not understand how the car had got there until Francois turned back towards the road and pointed upwards.

You could see a line of broken trees with the breaks getting higher as the trees were growing further away from the clearing. In other words, the car had gone so high that it cleared the trees beside the track, and then smashed them down as it came down in the forest. I should add that most of the trees were quite thin and young. I imagine older, stouter trees would have stopped the flight much quicker.

All that was left, apart from the flowers were some small pieces of yellow fibreglass.

It was a sobering experience.

#8 Kpy

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Posted 01 April 2001 - 21:02

Originally posted by Stefan Ornerdal
Bonniers crash was 1972.

Yes my literal, of course it was '72. He tripped over the Daytona of Florian Vetsch in the small hours of Sunday. And he had led the race

His best results must be winning Targa Florio twice and victory in some sportscar-races together with Graham Hill.

Well scoring BRM's first GP win - Zandvoort 1959 (no co-driver) has to have been his best.
Kpy



#9 Don Capps

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 12:14

I had the great fortune to meet Joakim Bonnier several times over the years. I was at Zandvoort in 1959 and watched Bonnier give the Owen Racing Organisation its first victory in a Championship event. He was a true Gent.

It is one of Life's bitter ironies that Bonnier, an early & vocal advocate along with Jackie Stewart for circuit safety, such meet his death in the circumstances that he did. However, Bonnier was a Racer and racing was what he did.

For years, Bonnier was the Porsche driver. Even today, whenever I think of Porsche racing, I automatically think of Porsche spyders and the bearded, white-helmeted Bonnier at the wheel....



#10 FLB

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 13:36

Bonnier's final race was terriifc. Ferrari had decided not to race. Matra had basically spent the year preparing. Bonnier, co-driving his little Lola with Gérard Larrousse, actually managed to lead for a while. In F1, he was called a "moving chicane" by some, but still did it on occasion for his own pleasure. He was instrumental in Ronnie Peterson's early career, giving him drives in his sportscars.

As Don says, his death was one of life's bitter ironies. He collided with Swiss privateer Florian Vetsch's Ferrari Daytona. Vic Elford, who stopped on the scene, said it looked like a small plane had crashed. The Englishman, driving an Alfa Romeo, strayed too far away from his own car trying to look for Bonnier and was subsenquently disqualified as Le Mans rules only allow you to walk a certain distance from your car.

#11 Bjorn

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 14:05

What happened to Florian Vetsch, though? And how did they collide, it must have been an awful collision since he flew this high :(

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 14:55

As an aside, he was something of an art collector, too.

Or is that right?

Would you consider a McLaren BRM V12 hanging on a loungeroom wall art?

#13 Kpy

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 14:57



Well, he did !!

#14 Dave Ware

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 17:44

Vic Elford describes the crash in the book and film, "The Speed Merchants." I seem to remember that Vic felt that Jo tried to pass where there was not sufficient room, tried to change course at the last minute, and failed.

In the film, Elford reports that his gearbox packed up shortly after Jo's crash, and that was the first time Vic was actually glad that a car he was racing broke down.

Elford indicated before the race that he knew Jo planned to drive much of the race flat-out.

Road and Track did a nice piece on Jo in the September 1971 issue. I don't have it handy, sorry.

He also won the 1000K of Nurburgring with Phil Hill in 1967, in a Chaparrel.

Dave

#15 Marcor

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Posted 02 April 2001 - 23:40

originally posted by Don Capps
For years, Bonnier was the Porsche driver. Even today, whenever I think of Porsche racing, I automatically think of Porsche spyders and the bearded, white-helmeted Bonnier at the wheel....

In 1960, Jo Bo won the German GP ahead of her team mates (sometimes of one day) von Trips (2nd), Graham Hill (4th), Hans Herrmann (5th) and Edgar Barth (6th). Only Jack Brabham came in between the 5 Porsche 718/2. That year's F2-only German GP was organised and was run on the rarely-used Nurburgring South circuit (7.7 km). In atrocious weather, JoBo started on pole, led throughout to win and set fastest lap.

He also won the F2 GP at Modena on October 2, on Ferrari soil, beating the Ferraris of von Trips and Ginther.

I think 1960 was his best season. In 1961 and 1962 he was outclassed by Dan Gurney.





#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 01:42

That's nothing to be ashamed of....

Having spent several hours with Elford recently, I think that he sometimes he says what he wants you to hear... though it was perhaps so that the gears were failing and he pulled up there deliberately instead of driving back to the pits.

Having one's name on one Grand Epreuve trophy and on any German GP on either or both parts of the old 'ring is enough to testify to anyone's abilities...

#17 luisfelipetrigo

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 01:58

I am quite sure that Jo Bonnier is shown (at least once) in the movie Grand Prix.

This is half question/half recollection: he had a team whose color was yellow ! ? Not sure if sports or F1 or F2 :confused: :confused: :confused:

#18 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 02:03

Originally posted by Barry Boor
All that was left, apart from the flowers were some small pieces of yellow fibreglass.


Apart from thanking Barry for this experience, which must have been very moving, this answers your question doesn't it, Luis?

#19 luisfelipetrigo

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 02:07

Ray:
Yes it does, but was it his entry, his team?
My recollection goes to the late 60's Mexican GP where this memory comes from.
I liked him a lot for he was a lot like Pedro Rodriguez (and Jo Siffert) in that they ran formula and sports events ... unfortunatelly all three finished their carrers about the same time.

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#20 Bernd

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 02:12

Luis

Bonnier had a prominent non-speaking role in Grand Prix mostly standing next to the main players and nodding. He is seen most often as offsider to a clearly piss-taking Graham Hill as Bob Turner.

#21 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 02:36

Forcing me to dig into my box of random Motor Sports, Luis, you have led me to pictures of the 1968 Italian GP. There's one of his McLaren BRM being lapped, and another of him driving round the parabolica with Elford (!) spinning in the sand trap in the background, but I can find no reference to the team name anywhere.

The car has a broad white stripe down each side, with a narrow red stripe within the white.

And you're right, we shouldn't assume the Lola was racing in his name...

#22 luisfelipetrigo

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 03:50

I have been looking around and find that Jo Bonnier drove F1 cars entered by:
  • Joakim Bonnier Racing Team (1967 - 1968)
  • Anglo Suisse Racing Team ( 1966)
  • Brabham Organization (1966)
  • Rob Walker Racing Team (1963 - 1964 - 1965)
  • Porsche System Engineering (1961 - 1962)
  • Owen Racing Organization (1958 - 1959 - 1960)
  • Jo Bonnier (1957 - 1958)
  • Scuderia Centro Sud (1957 - 1958)
  • Giorgio Scarlatti (1958)
  • Officine Alfieri Maserati (1957)
I am not aware af a "FORIX" for Sports Cars so I could not search there.
The one team that I was looking for was "Ecuire Ecosse".
Was this team 'yellow'?
Did Jo B. drove for them?
Who else?

#23 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 03:59

Ecurie Ecosse had the Scottish colours of dark blue with a white stripe across the front... Jo drove with those colours for Rob Walker...

#24 Roger Clark

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 05:25

Originally posted by Marcor


I think 1960 was his best season. In 1961 and 1962 he was outclassed by Dan Gurney.




In 1961,Bonnier was fully competitive with Dan Gurney and often ahead of him. I wsa in 1962 that his relative performance dropped off. Tthis may be because Jo became discouraged with the problems of the Flat-eight, or perhaps because Dan was getting better all the time.

#25 Barry Boor

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 06:23

While it may not be the definitive answer regarding JoBo's team colours, this yellow with red and white stripes was carried by cars Jo drove for the final few years of his career. McLaren F1, Lola T.70 and the little 3 litre Lola.

I don't think I have ever read it, but I just assumed the yellow was for Sweden, his homeland, and the red and white for Switzerland which is where he lived and kept an art gallery for many years prior to his death.

#26 Stefan Ornerdal

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 06:25

Bonniers team was 'Ecurie Bonnier SA' and yellow is Swedens racing colour. He was entered in F1 as late as 1971 (Italian GP), and then hang up his McLaren on the wall in the living-room. Obviously a man of good taste!
Ecurie Bonnier was Lola's agent on the continent.

#27 Rob29

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 07:12

Actually swden's colours are BLUE & yellow. Bonnier once ran a Maserati 250F(Cenro Sud team) painted in washable blue & yellow paint! In the event of rain it would have changed to red during the race..

#28 Joe Fan

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 07:31

Jo Bonnier was one of Masten Gregory's closest friends. Bonnier's death at Le Mans in 1972 is was led Masten to retire from after the race. I wonder if Jo's wife Marianne would be someone who might be able to help me with Masten Gregory stories. If so, does anyone know how she might be contacted if still alive?

#29 Bernd

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 07:48

OT

Joe you could try contact Ian Scott Watson, I think he will have some stories to tell about Masten not to mention Jimmy Clark.

I am not sure personally how to contact him.

#30 Joe Fan

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 08:02

Bernd, Ian Scott Watson had something to do with Ecurie Ecosse didn't he?

As far as Marianne Bonnier, the wives of racers can sometimes be very good subjects for biography interviews. They sometimes remember less of the racing stuff but more about the individual personality away from the track which you need and is often just as interesting.

#31 Bernd

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 08:51

More the opposition Border Reivers :)

He had a lot to do with the entry of Jim and Masten in that famous Goodwood race where Masten played Superman.

#32 LittleChris

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 12:00

I seem to remember from ' All Arms & Elbows ' that JoBo had a big scrap with Innes Ireland during the 1961 Solitude GP, which Ireland finally won following a bit of audacious overtaking on the grass on the last lap. Apparently JoBo wasn't particularly amused by the tactics used !


#33 Dave Ware

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 17:52

Thanks also, Barry, for the recollection.

Thanks Stefan for the background info on Jo. I had not known those details about his life.

Ray, I continue to be envious (...several hours w/ Elford...)

A while back I saw a Speedvision program on the '67 German Grand Prix. Bonnier towed his F1 car to the circuit on an open trailer, pulled by a Volvo station wagon.

D.

#34 Wolf

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 20:03

Joakim Bonnier comes from a fairly affluent Swedish family, one which sent him to Oxford to study English, and then to Paris "to do something in our publishing firm." Bonnier was never quite sure what, so after a time he went back to Stockholm and Began selling Alfa-Romeo cars.

To attract attention to himself and his dealership, he began to race cars he was selling. There were a lot of crackups at first: "you have all that enthusiasm and no expirience."

He had his first serious crash in a sports car race at Imola, Italy, in 1956. He was 26 years old. "Somebody got in my way and I flipped. I was flung out and hit a telegraph post head on. I was asleep for some time."

Bonnier had three vertebrae and several ribs fractured. He felt terrible, but he flew to Rome and competed in three races. "This was silly, I know," he says. "But I felt that with luck I might get on Maserati team for 1957. If I could just make some kind of showing at Rome..."

Hurt, sometimes dizzy, he finished sixth, fourth and first in the three races. Maserati hired him.


Before anybody who knows me better faints from surprise how clever I've become- I'll hasten to add that this is a quote taken from Daley's 'The Cruel Sport'.;)

#35 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 April 2001 - 23:27

Originally posted by Dave Ware
Ray, I continue to be envious (...several hours w/ Elford...)


Don't really know why... I had to do a lot of passive smoking!

The interesting thing he brought up was that he'd won more major races at the 'ring than anyone else. Six, I think it was.

#36 Barry Lake

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 08:10

I've only just had a quick run through this thread, so forgive me if I've missed something.

I always liked Jo Bonnier, and was a great fan of Denis Jenkinson's writings in Motor Sport. But I became annoyed with Jenks when he continually "bagged" Bonnier month after month in his writings. He said things along the lines of "has no right to be in a GP car" etc.

Does anyone else remember this?

#37 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 08:27

Actually, Barry, as I went through those mags looking for mention of an entrant, I noted that he was barely mentioned. But I didn't look at the race details, so this wouldn't stand out. By the end of the sixties, though, he was a bit past it, and the comment could conceivably be accepted by devout DSJ readers such as myself.

I don't recall it, though, not as a regular thing.

#38 Bernd

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 09:00

Barry.

Jenks disliked Jo Bonnier because of his stance on safety. Simple as that really. He though of him along with JYS as a nancy boy.

#39 Barry Boor

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 09:38

:blush:

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#40 Rob29

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 12:07

At the end of his F1 career,in the Mclaren,the phrase "Bonnier brought up the rear" was comonly heard from commentators. I read somewhere that the literal translation of the French equivelent is "Bonnier was the Red Lamp"-as in the back end of a train. At about this time the idea of fitting red lights to the rear of single seaters was first proposed and ridiculed as a Bonnier idea. In fact it became a sucessful addition to safety.

#41 FLB

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 16:44

Originally posted by Rob29
At the end of his F1 career,in the Mclaren,the phrase "Bonnier brought up the rear" was comonly heard from commentators. I read somewhere that the literal translation of the French equivelent is "Bonnier was the Red Lamp"-as in the back end of a train.


Yep. When a driver is the "lanterne rouge", he's last.

#42 Marcor

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 17:55

Roger, I would like to come back to 1961. Here I've collected the results of the F1 races where both Jo and Dan were entered by Porsche. Ok but we can conclude Bonnier 3 - Gurney 9 !!!

09/04/61 Bruxelles GP Bruxelles Bonnier DNF - Gurney DNF
25/04/61 Syracuse GP Syracuse Bonnier 3 - Gurney 2
14/05/61 GP de Monaco Monaco Bonnier 12 - Gurney 5
22/05/61 Dutch GP Zandvoort Bonnier 11 - Gurney 10
18/06/61 Belgian GP Spa-francorchamps - Bonnier 7 Gurney 6
02/07/61 ACF GP Reims-Gueux Bonnier 7 - Gurney 2
15/07/61 British GP Aintree Bonnier 5 - Gurney 7
23/07/61 Solitude GP Solitude Bonnier 2 - Gurney 3

06/08/61 German GP Nurburgring Bonnier DNF - Gurney 7
03/09/61 Modena GP Modena Bonnier 2 - Gurney 3
10/09/61 Italian GP Monza Bonnier DNF - Gurney 2
08/10/61 US GP Watkins Glen Bonnier 6 - Gurney 2


#43 Roger Clark

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Posted 04 April 2001 - 18:48

Yes, but look beyond the results.

Bruxelles: Bonnier pole position, won first heat, lead second until Surtees ran into him
Siracusa: Gurney was definitely faster, but Bonnier was competitive
monaco: Bonnier battling for the lead inthe early stages against Moss and the Ferraris, retired after 59 laps, (but still classified)
Zandvoort: all Porsches were pretty awful that day.
Spa As Zandvoort
Reims: both Porsches were battling with Baghetti until Bonnier's engine blew on lap 50 of 52. He was sent out to limp round to the finish
Aintree: Bonnier on front row of the grid, stayed with the Ferraris and Moss in the early stages, but soon dropped back.
Solitude: Bonnier pole position, marvelous battle with Ireland for the race.
Nurburgring:Bonnier front row of the grid, puncture on first lap, retired after 6.
Modena: Bonnier chased moss all the way.
Monza: Bonnier slightly slower than gurney until his retirement
Watkins Glen: Gurney definitely faster.

#44 Marcor

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Posted 05 April 2001 - 01:47

Jo was clearly competitive, very fast but had a lack of luck. But what about the comparison, not in the race results, but close to the qualifying session. 2 PP for Bonnier (Brussels and Solitude, one for Gurney, Syracuse) ...

Have you that data (qualifying session) ?

#45 Roger Clark

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Posted 05 April 2001 - 05:12

Bruxelles: JB 1st, DG 3rd (gap 2secs)
Siracusa JB 6th, DG 1st (1.6secS)
Monaco B 9th, DG 10th (0.3)
Zandvoort JB 11th DG 6th (0.7sec)
Spa JB 9th DG 10th (0.1secs)
Reims JB 10th DG 10th (0.9secs)
Aintree JB 3rd DG 12th (1.4secs)
Nurburg JB 4th DG 7th (1.8secs)
solitude JB 1st D 2nd 0.4secs
Monza JB 8th DG 12th 2.4 secs)
modena JB 2nd Dg 3rd (Same time)
Watkins Glen JB 10th DG 9th (0.3secs)


#46 MattFoster

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Posted 06 April 2001 - 08:27

I bought that issue of Motorsport

I came with a great video of Auto Union footage from the 30's. Awesome stuff. Rosemeyer, Stuck and Tazio doing amazing things.

#47 Rob G

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Posted 10 April 2001 - 00:17

Luis, Bonnier's Cooper-Maserati was painted red with two white "Cooper-style" stripes in 1967. He changed to yellow in '68.

#48 Roger Clark

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Posted 02 November 2001 - 06:09

We had a discussion recently about the 1957 French Grand Prix and whether Jean Behra's last lap counted when he pushed the carover the line. Here, I think, is another example.

At solitude in 1963, jo Bonnier was running second when his engine failed after 23 laps of 25. He stopped just before te finishing line and prepared to push the car over the line when the winner, Jack Brabham had taken the flag. Unfortunately his final lap (his 24th) then took over twice the time of the fastest race lap and therfore was not counted. The irony is that the rules had been changed that year even if they were not running at the finish. Therefore Bonnier would have completed 24 laps if he had merely crossed the line after his engine broke. He would then have been classified fifth rather than ninth.

THat's the way Motor Racing, Autosport and Paul Sheldon tell it. Denis Jenkinson in Motor Sport says merely that Bonnier tried to drive over the line but could not because his engine had ceased. I should say that the Motor Racing and Autosport reports were both written by Bill Gavin, and Sheldon may have used them as his primary source.

can anybody confirm what happened and that the rules had changed in the way described? I assune aso that the phrase "still running at the finish" in previooous years meant "completing your final lap after the winer has finished the race and within a sensible proportion of the fastest race lap". this rule change would mark the end of the sight of drivers of striken cars pushing over hte line at the end of the race.

#49 Joe Fan

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Posted 02 November 2001 - 07:54

I don't if this helps but I have video of the 1957 Reims Grand Prix. Masten Gregory waits until the leader crosses the finish line and then pushes his ill Maserati over the finish line.

#50 Torgny Arvidsson

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Posted 29 March 2002 - 19:06

Can anybody help me with some startnumbers of Jo Bonnier´s racecars: Watkins Glen 28/9 1958 and Coppa d`Oro Schell, Imola 1/5 1972. At W.G. in the ex Fangio Maserati 250F s/n 2529 and at Imola in one of his Lola T280.